(a) The commissioner, with advice from experts with appropriate technical qualifications and experience and stakeholders, consistent with subdivision 1a, shall include in the comprehensive assessment system, for each grade level to be tested, state-constructed tests developed as computer-adaptive reading and mathematics assessments for students that are aligned with the state's required academic standards under section 120B.021, include multiple choice questions, and are administered annually to all students in grades 3 through 8. State-developed high school tests aligned with the state's required academic standards under section 120B.021 and administered to all high school students in a subject other than writing must include multiple choice questions. The commissioner shall establish one or more months during which schools shall administer the tests to students each school year.
(1) Students enrolled in grade 8 through the 2009-2010 school year are eligible to be assessed under (i) the graduation-required assessment for diploma in reading, mathematics, or writing under Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 120B.30, subdivision 1, paragraphs (c), clauses (1) and (2), and (d), (ii) the WorkKeys job skills assessment, (iii) the Compass college placement test, (iv) the ACT assessment for college admission, (v) a nationally recognized armed services vocational aptitude test.
(2) Students enrolled in grade 8 in the 2010-2011 or 2011-2012 school year are eligible to be assessed under (i) the graduation-required assessment for diploma in reading, mathematics, or writing under Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 120B.30, subdivision 1, paragraph (c), clauses (1) and (2), (ii) the WorkKeys job skills assessment, (iii) the Compass college placement test, (iv) the ACT assessment for college admission, (v) a nationally recognized armed services vocational aptitude test.
(3) For students under clause (1) or (2), a school district may substitute a score from an alternative, equivalent assessment to satisfy the requirements of this paragraph.
(b) The state assessment system must be aligned to the most recent revision of academic standards as described in section 120B.023 in the following manner:
(i) grades 3 through 8 beginning in the 2010-2011 school year; and
(ii) high school level beginning in the 2013-2014 school year;
(2) science; grades 5 and 8 and at the high school level beginning in the 2011-2012 school year; and
(3) language arts and reading; grades 3 through 8 and high school level beginning in the 2012-2013 school year.
(c) For students enrolled in grade 8 in the 2012-2013 school year and later, students' state graduation requirements, based on a longitudinal, systematic approach to student education and career planning, assessment, instructional support, and evaluation, include the following:
(1) an opportunity to participate on a nationally normed college entrance exam, in grade 11 or grade 12;
(2) achievement and career and college readiness in mathematics, reading, and writing, consistent with paragraph (j) and to the extent available, to monitor students' continuous development of and growth in requisite knowledge and skills; analyze students' progress and performance levels, identifying students' academic strengths and diagnosing areas where students require curriculum or instructional adjustments, targeted interventions, or remediation; and, based on analysis of students' progress and performance data, determine students' learning and instructional needs and the instructional tools and best practices that support academic rigor for the student; and
(3) consistent with this paragraph and section 120B.125, age-appropriate exploration and planning activities and career assessments to encourage students to identify personally relevant career interests and aptitudes and help students and their families develop a regularly reexamined transition plan for postsecondary education or employment without need for postsecondary remediation.
Based on appropriate state guidelines, students with an individualized education program may satisfy state graduation requirements by achieving an individual score on the state-identified alternative assessments.
(d) Expectations of schools, districts, and the state for career or college readiness under this subdivision must be comparable in rigor, clarity of purpose, and rates of student completion. A student under paragraph (c), clause (2), must receive targeted, relevant, academically rigorous, and resourced instruction, which may include a targeted instruction and intervention plan focused on improving the student's knowledge and skills in core subjects so that the student has a reasonable chance to succeed in a career or college without need for postsecondary remediation. Consistent with sections 120B.13, 124D.09, 124D.091, 124D.49, and related sections, an enrolling school or district must actively encourage a student in grade 11 or 12 who is identified as academically ready for a career or college to participate in courses and programs awarding college credit to high school students. Students are not required to achieve a specified score or level of proficiency on an assessment under this subdivision to graduate from high school.
(e) Though not a high school graduation requirement, students are encouraged to participate in a nationally recognized college entrance exam. With funding provided by the state, a district must pay the cost, one time, for an interested student in grade 11 or 12 to take a nationally recognized college entrance exam before graduating. A student must be able to take the exam under this paragraph at the student's high school during the school day and at any one of the multiple exam administrations available to students in the district.
(f) The commissioner and the chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities must collaborate in aligning instruction and assessments for adult basic education students and English learners to provide the students with diagnostic information about any targeted interventions, accommodations, modifications, and supports they need so that assessments and other performance measures are accessible to them and they may seek postsecondary education or employment without need for postsecondary remediation. When administering formative or summative assessments used to measure the academic progress, including the oral academic development, of English learners and inform their instruction, schools must ensure that the assessments are accessible to the students and students have the modifications and supports they need to sufficiently understand the assessments.
(g) Districts and schools, on an annual basis, must use career exploration elements to help students, beginning no later than grade 9, and their families explore and plan for postsecondary education or careers based on the students' interests, aptitudes, and aspirations. Districts and schools must use timely regional labor market information and partnerships, among other resources, to help students and their families successfully develop, pursue, review, and revise an individualized plan for postsecondary education or a career. This process must help increase students' engagement in and connection to school, improve students' knowledge and skills, and deepen students' understanding of career pathways as a sequence of academic and career courses that lead to an industry-recognized credential, an associate's degree, or a bachelor's degree and are available to all students, whatever their interests and career goals.
(h) A student who demonstrates attainment of required state academic standards, which include career and college readiness benchmarks, on high school assessments under subdivision 1a is academically ready for a career or college and is encouraged to participate in courses awarding college credit to high school students. Such courses and programs may include sequential courses of study within broad career areas and technical skill assessments that extend beyond course grades.
(i) As appropriate, students through grade 12 must continue to participate in targeted instruction, intervention, or remediation and be encouraged to participate in courses awarding college credit to high school students.
(j) In developing, supporting, and improving students' academic readiness for a career or college, schools, districts, and the state must have a continuum of empirically derived, clearly defined benchmarks focused on students' attainment of knowledge and skills so that students, their parents, and teachers know how well students must perform to have a reasonable chance to succeed in a career or college without need for postsecondary remediation. The commissioner, in consultation with local school officials and educators, and Minnesota's public postsecondary institutions must ensure that the foundational knowledge and skills for students' successful performance in postsecondary employment or education and an articulated series of possible targeted interventions are clearly identified and satisfy Minnesota's postsecondary admissions requirements.
(k) For students in grade 8 in the 2012-2013 school year and later, a school, district, or charter school must record on the high school transcript a student's progress toward career and college readiness, and for other students as soon as practicable.
(l) The school board granting students their diplomas may formally decide to include a notation of high achievement on the high school diplomas of those graduating seniors who, according to established school board criteria, demonstrate exemplary academic achievement during high school.
(m) The 3rd through 8th grade computer-adaptive assessment results and high school test results shall be available to districts for diagnostic purposes affecting student learning and district instruction and curriculum, and for establishing educational accountability. The commissioner must establish empirically derived benchmarks on adaptive assessments in grades 3 through 8 that reveal a trajectory toward career and college readiness. The commissioner must disseminate to the public the computer-adaptive assessments and high school test results upon receiving those results.
(n) The grades 3 through 8 computer-adaptive assessments and high school tests must be aligned with state academic standards. The commissioner shall determine the testing process and the order of administration. The statewide results shall be aggregated at the site and district level, consistent with subdivision 1a.
(o) The commissioner shall include the following components in the statewide public reporting system:
(1) uniform statewide computer-adaptive assessments of all students in grades 3 through 8 and testing at the high school levels that provides appropriate, technically sound accommodations or alternate assessments;
(2) educational indicators that can be aggregated and compared across school districts and across time on a statewide basis, including average daily attendance, high school graduation rates, and high school drop-out rates by age and grade level;
(3) state results on the American College Test; and
(4) state results from participation in the National Assessment of Educational Progress so that the state can benchmark its performance against the nation and other states, and, where possible, against other countries, and contribute to the national effort to monitor achievement.
(p) For purposes of statewide accountability, "career and college ready" means a high school graduate has the knowledge, skills, and competencies to successfully pursue a career pathway, including postsecondary credit leading to a degree, diploma, certificate, or industry-recognized credential and employment. Students who are career and college ready are able to successfully complete credit-bearing coursework at a two- or four-year college or university or other credit-bearing postsecondary program without need for remediation.
(q) For purposes of statewide accountability, "cultural competence," "cultural competency," or "culturally competent" means the ability and will to interact effectively with people of different cultures, native languages, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
(a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions have the meanings given them.
(1) "Computer-adaptive assessments" means fully adaptive assessments.
(2) "Fully adaptive assessments" include test items that are on-grade level and items that may be above or below a student's grade level.
(3) "On-grade level" test items contain subject area content that is aligned to state academic standards for the grade level of the student taking the assessment.
(4) "Above-grade level" test items contain subject area content that is above the grade level of the student taking the assessment and is considered aligned with state academic standards to the extent it is aligned with content represented in state academic standards above the grade level of the student taking the assessment. Notwithstanding the student's grade level, administering above-grade level test items to a student does not violate the requirement that state assessments must be aligned with state standards.
(5) "Below-grade level" test items contain subject area content that is below the grade level of the student taking the test and is considered aligned with state academic standards to the extent it is aligned with content represented in state academic standards below the student's current grade level. Notwithstanding the student's grade level, administering below-grade level test items to a student does not violate the requirement that state assessments must be aligned with state standards.
(b) The commissioner must use fully adaptive mathematics and reading assessments for grades 3 through 8.
(c) For purposes of conforming with existing federal educational accountability requirements, the commissioner must develop and implement computer-adaptive reading and mathematics assessments for grades 3 through 8, state-developed high school reading and mathematics tests aligned with state academic standards, a high school writing test aligned with state standards when it becomes available, and science assessments under clause (2) that districts and sites must use to monitor student growth toward achieving those standards. The commissioner must not develop statewide assessments for academic standards in social studies, health and physical education, and the arts. The commissioner must require:
(1) annual computer-adaptive reading and mathematics assessments in grades 3 through 8, and high school reading, writing, and mathematics tests; and
(2) annual science assessments in one grade in the grades 3 through 5 span, the grades 6 through 8 span, and a life sciences assessment in the grades 9 through 12 span, and the commissioner must not require students to achieve a passing score on high school science assessments as a condition of receiving a high school diploma.
(d) The commissioner must ensure that for annual computer-adaptive assessments:
(1) individual student performance data and achievement reports are available within three school days of when students take an assessment except in a year when an assessment reflects new performance standards;
(2) growth information is available for each student from the student's first assessment to each proximate assessment using a constant measurement scale;
(3) parents, teachers, and school administrators are able to use elementary and middle school student performance data to project students' secondary and postsecondary achievement; and
(4) useful diagnostic information about areas of students' academic strengths and weaknesses is available to teachers and school administrators for improving student instruction and indicating the specific skills and concepts that should be introduced and developed for students at given performance levels, organized by strands within subject areas, and aligned to state academic standards.
(e) The commissioner must ensure that all state tests administered to elementary and secondary students measure students' academic knowledge and skills and not students' values, attitudes, and beliefs.
(f) Reporting of state assessment results must:
(1) provide timely, useful, and understandable information on the performance of individual students, schools, school districts, and the state;
(2) include a growth indicator of student achievement; and
(3) determine whether students have met the state's academic standards.
(g) Consistent with applicable federal law, the commissioner must include appropriate, technically sound accommodations or alternative assessments for the very few students with disabilities for whom statewide assessments are inappropriate and for English learners.
(h) A school, school district, and charter school must administer statewide assessments under this section, as the assessments become available, to evaluate student progress toward career and college readiness in the context of the state's academic standards. A school, school district, or charter school may use a student's performance on a statewide assessment as one of multiple criteria to determine grade promotion or retention. A school, school district, or charter school may use a high school student's performance on a statewide assessment as a percentage of the student's final grade in a course, or place a student's assessment score on the student's transcript.
The Department of Education shall develop a list of circumstances in which a student may be unable to test. The list shall include but not be limited to: students transferring to Minnesota from another state, students transferring from nonpublic to public school and students hospitalized. Students unable to participate in statewide assessment due to a circumstance on the list authorized under this subdivision shall not be penalized for missing the opportunity to take a test.
The Department of Education shall contract for professional and technical services according to competitive solicitation procedures under chapter 16C for purposes of this section.
The commissioner shall report test results publicly and to stakeholders, including the performance achievement levels developed from students' unweighted test scores in each tested subject and a listing of demographic factors that strongly correlate with student performance, including student homelessness, as data are available, among other factors. The test results must not include personally identifiable information as defined in Code of Federal Regulations, title 34, section 99.3. The commissioner shall also report data that compares performance results among school sites, school districts, Minnesota and other states, and Minnesota and other nations. The commissioner shall disseminate to schools and school districts a more comprehensive report containing testing information that meets local needs for evaluating instruction and curriculum. The commissioner shall disseminate to charter school authorizers a more comprehensive report containing testing information that contains anonymized data where cell count data are sufficient to protect student identity and that meets the authorizer's needs in fulfilling its obligations under chapter 124E.
Consistent with section 13.34, the commissioner must adopt and publish a policy to provide public and parental access for review of Minnesota-developed assessments which would not compromise the objectivity or fairness of the testing or examination process. Upon receiving a written request, the commissioner must make available to parents or guardians a copy of their student's actual responses to the test questions for their review.
In the event that it becomes necessary for the commissioner to order the suspension of assessments under this section because of service disruptions, technical interruptions, or any other reason beyond the control of school districts, the commissioner must immediately notify the chair and ranking member of the legislative committees with jurisdiction over kindergarten through grade 12 education.
1997 c 138 s 1; 1998 c 386 art 2 s 38; 1998 c 397 art 4 s 2,51; art 11 s 3; 1998 c 398 art 5 s 8; 1999 c 241 art 9 s 3; 2000 c 489 art 6 s 2; 2000 c 500 s 15; 1Sp2001 c 6 art 2 s 4; 2003 c 129 art 1 s 7,8; 2003 c 130 s 12; 2004 c 294 art 6 s 2; 1Sp2005 c 5 art 2 s 21-23; 2007 c 146 art 2 s 9; 2009 c 96 art 2 s 8; 2010 c 382 s 21,22; 1Sp2011 c 11 art 2 s 4-6; art 3 s 12; 2012 c 239 art 1 s 33; art 2 s 4; 2013 c 116 art 2 s 12,13; 2014 c 272 art 1 s 8; 1Sp2015 c 3 art 2 s 6; art 3 s 7-11; art 4 s 10